Two people hurt by cable on Cedar Point's Skyhawk

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

An accident on a ride at Cedar Point late Saturday sent one visitor to a local hospital for evaluation. A second injured guest was treated at the scene, according to the park. At about 10 p.m. Saturday, a cable on the ride Skyhawk disconnected from one of the ride's two carriages and came in contact with two park guests, according to park spokesman Bryan Edwards.

Read more from The Plain Dealer.

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Thabto's avatar

I don't know why this ride is plagued with so many issues. I don't think the ride's future looks too good. I got 3 rides on it this year, which may very well end up being my last. If they do reopen it, it's unlikely I'll go on it anymore. It doesn't feel safe.

What exactly failed? Did the cable snap? Did the hardware holding it in place fail? And what do these cables do, exactly? I never thought they were under that much tension. I don't think they are part of the drive system. So why did they have to let the carriages stop naturally, opposed to stopping the ride as usual?

Out of my own curiosity, how do these Screamin' Swings work? I know they are propeed by compressed air, but what are the mechanics behind it?

But then again, what do I know?

LostKause's avatar

I wish those who were injured well. I also wish the park well. Skyhawk is a really fun ride; one of my favorites. I hope they can work out the problems and keep it for many years to come, but I don't expect it.

Last edited by LostKause,
ApolloAndy's avatar

My very limited knowledge of the ride is that the cables connect the piston in the pneumatic cylinders (which actually provide the thrust for the ride and are buried underground below the legs of the frame) to the axle of the swing/ride vehicle. Basically, they are the only way to impart force to increase or decrease the swinging motion of the ride vehicle and are thus, under a pretty significant amount of tension.

Last edited by ApolloAndy,

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OhioStater's avatar

Those would be the cables inside. If I'm reading things correctly, what broke was one of the cables (each car has 4 I believe) on the outside, which seem to serve some sort of stabilizing purpose, and do not appear to have that much tension on them.

That would be the drive cables (isn't that what snapped last season and caused SkyHawk to be down the last part of the season? And they are in the columns? The cable that came loose runs from the carriage to the top of the pendulum arm... Do these even move?

But then again, what do I know?

OhioStater's avatar

No, they don't move at all. And yes, the drive cable is what broke last year.

You can see pics of the outer cables in this story:

This ride was built prior to the change in ASTM standard that requires being able to stopped as quickly and safely as possible. The E stop on this (and a lot of other rides) kills the power and in this case dumps the air tanks, which are used in the controlled stop mode. I remember the old control system on the Giant Wheel, the E stop shut down the motor generator set, which in turn stopped the four drive motors. There were mechanical brakes that would kick in once the speed of the wheel reached a preset speed. Up to that point it would coast for while, depending upon how it was loaded. I don't know if that is still the case with the new control system, (it doesn't require the motor generator set)

Jeff's avatar

Yes, this wasn't the drive cables, it was one of the cables that connects from just above the seats to a horizontal (when at rest) support up at the axle. That's a strange failure. Apparently it took out some of the fence in front of the ride, so whatever injuries there were, it could have been much worse.

The mechanism that moves it is very similar to what's in the drop towers, so you would think that would make them reliable since they seem to be such a simple design. As it turns out though, they've been a pain in these swing rides in part because the tubes where the pistons travel are at an angle, causing wear on one side and all kinds of seal failures.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

kpjb's avatar

In the WKYC video they say that the carriage came disconnected. Great reporting.


Thabto's avatar

^ No they didn't.

Some news stories on this ride are a joke. One article from WEWS said it took the park 20 minutes to call an ambulance. I call bull on that.

rollergator's avatar

Abe Lincoln warned us against believing everything we read on the internet...

kpjb's avatar

"One of them had their carriage disconnect in midair" You only have to watch for 15 seconds.


Thabto's avatar

Oops, my bad. I just read the story, not watch the video.

Thabto's avatar

I wouldn't doubt that other parks with these rides shut theirs down for inspection.

Dorney's Screamin' Swing did not shut down for inspection. I know they're not exactly the same thing, but definitely the same idea, so I figured for sure it would be shut down when I visited on Sunday, but nope!

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

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